Inter-Lakes School Board renews commitment to traffic control officer

MEREDITH — The School Board reaffirmed its commitment to having a police officer directing traffic at the Inter-Lakes School District campus in the morning and in the afternoon.

The consensus came after a citizen wrote a letter to the board saying that a police officer directing traffic slows the flow of into and out of the school grounds as well as on Route 3 near the school.

The writer said that often times westbound traffic gets backed up beyond Barnard Ridge Road.

Board members said the duty police officer is there primarily for safety.

"The key word is safety," said Chair Richard Hanson who noted that it's not how fast someone can drive at or near the school but whether or not the students and buses can safely enter and exit the campus.

Sgt. Michael Harper said making a left hand turn from the campus onto Route 3 can be especially tricky and can be made even more so by younger and inexperienced drivers who come and go from the high school.

In his opinion, he said having a police officer at the intersection during the busiest times of day has improved safety even though it has slowed traffic through the area.

"For what we gain in safety we'll gladly cede what we had in time," he said.

He said the school district pays for the special detail that takes about 45 minutes in the morning and about the same in the afternoon.

School Board Chair Richard Hanson said as a board they are likely to favor continuing with the traffic officer.